‘Annan's peace plan for Syria one-sided, favoring US interests’
Story Code : 153708
Interview with Stephen Lendman, author and radio host in major Midwestern US City of Chicago on the Syrian peace plan initiative and the one-sided demands, as he describes, placed upon President Assad. Mr. Lendman also surmises the US strategy behind this and the roles of Kofi Annan, Russia and China in the matter.
What exactly does this mean? Is this a positive step in your perspective for sending now an observer team into Syria? And how can it be guaranteed that they will actually be neutral?
Lendman Oh I would love to believe there is something positive going on. Absolutely Russia and China want a peaceful resolution. They want peace and stability. The obstacle always is Washington; my own country - Washington - deplores peace and stability.
Washington’s dirty hands are behind instigating this conflict in the first place. Literally all the manipulation came from Washington and then others are enlisted to go along, Saudi Arabia, key NATO partners mainly Britain, France, key regional allies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey- absolutely Turkey is a key factor in this.
And I honestly believe, I mean, we had observers go in before it didn’t change anything. It’s hard for me to believe it’s going to change anything now but, you know... you never give up.
Why do you think that they put this to a vote now Mr. Lendman?
Lendman Well, Russia absolutely wanted monitors to go in immediately. The Annan peace plan, which really is a stop short of a real peace plan - it really puts the onus one way on Assad; to a much lesser extent on the insurgent opposition.
But nonetheless, Russia backs peace and stability. I mean any sensible nation would do that I certainly do and they want monitors in there immediately, independent monitors to watch what’s going on. So hopefully if they really are independent on the ground in enough places and they need a good many of them - they talked about 30 at the onset, but they really need hundreds to go in there across the country and if they really are independent monitors, who knows if they will be, but if they are, they’ll see what’s going on and they can point fingers the right way.
If one side is opposed to the other and breaks the ceasefire, they can name names and then there would be a legitimate argument to say you broke the deal, you’re responsible, we will hold you responsible. Whether it will play out this way or not- I don’t know it. Again the main road block is Washington.
Well, going back to what you said earlier about Washington, Mr. Lendman you said that Washington deplores peace and stability. Given that premise then, how likely are they to allow this to take place? Do you think that possibly they will be trying to sabotage any possibility of having peace in Syria?
Lendman I think what they’ll try to do is to manipulate the monitors to get their own people on the ground, people they control so they can point fingers at Assad. I think what Washington’s scheme would be: monitors are going to go in with the resolution just passed unanimously. Our monitors will go in Washington wants to control them, Washington wants fingers pointed at Assad. Insurgents may commit violence, but Washington wants Assad blamed for it.
When you go through the US media - I do all the time critiquing it - I write about insurgent violence in the US media I call them scoundrel media because that's what they are. They blame Assad for the insurgent violence that is Washington generated, Saudi armed and funded and of course, Turkey housing them across the border.
Assad gets blamed for confronting their violence. All responsible leaders would confront violence like this. If it happened in my own country if it happened in Chicago the Chicago police would be on the streets confronting it. If they couldn't handle it the National Guard would confront it and if they couldn't handle it the marines would come in and confront any way they had to exactly the way Assad is doing it now. But he is blamed for the crimes the insurgents have committed and Washington is behind what they're doing in the first place.
We just heard from some of the country's nations of the UN Security Council speaking and the ones that we were listening to, both the UK and Germany the representatives there said that they were against that the Syrian government's still had not returned all troops to the barracks and they must remove all heavy weapons from the streets.
For a country that may be still under attack even though perhaps it is less now than it was a few days ago, how is the government expected to remove all their troops and also their heavy weapons in order to protect the civilian population?
Lendman I agree. I absolutely agree. In other words, what they're really saying without saying it is bring the troops back to the barracks, bring all the weapons back to wherever they're stored, leave your people defenseless… defenseless! Leave the insurgents free to do whatever they want to do.
All the demands are made on Assad. I didn't listen to the discussion, you probably had it all along, but I imagine all of the fingers pointed to Assad - you do this; you do that; nothing said about the insurgents; demands that they cease violence and if they don’t they'll be blamed for it. Nothing is said that way.
Kofi Annan doesn't say that or when he does his comments are very, very muted. It shows how disingenuous he is. He never did a thing in a decade as UN Secretary General to promote peace. He supported all America's imperial wars. That's the reason he was appointed the envoy to get involved in this; that's why I don't trust his plan.
I'm very dubious that there will be a peaceful resolution, but I also feel that Washington had a Plan A, to unseat - regime change is Washington's plan. I think it had a Plan A - it failed; it absolutely failed. They want to go to a Plan B and we'll watch it unfold. May be there has been a Plan B that looked like Plan A to me, or they'll go onto the next plan.
I think there's a lot of internal conflict about whether to get involved… with NATO doing to Syria what they did to Libya... I mean, I feel the possibility is real, but on the one hand Gaddafi's military was a push over. Syria is not a push over.
Also in the middle of that we do have the role that Russia and China is playing on all of this. I want to look at that because you just brought up Libya because as you said, Libya was different; the Libyan military quite different from the Syrian military and also, of course, we have the UN Security Council itself, that they are not united over Syria.
How important is the role of the Russians in all of this as well as the Chinese in trying to balance out what the United States wants to do?
Lendman: Oh, it’s crucial, Marziyeh, absolutely crucial. Russia and China are the bulwark thwarting Washington’s plan to oust Assad. They have literally defeated the imperial hegemony; literally have done it so far.
What’s ahead, I’m not good at predicting the future. I can only guess at what Washington may want to do, possibly what it may want to do next.
But Russia and China have absolutely been crucial, Russia most of all. I mean, there have been stalwarts in this. I wish I could shake Lavrov’s hands, Medvedev’s hands. I don’t think they’re going to relent on this. Both countries have important regional interests.
To China, it’s mainly oil, Iranian oil. It’s so important to China. They don’t want to do anything to jeopardize their access to it. And they know that the plan is to get rid of Assad, de-link Syria from Iran - isolate Iran - and then make it tougher for Iran to stand alone without a key ally.
Then America’s plan would be to target Iran. China absolutely wants to prevent it. Russia wants to prevent it. Russia also has key regional interests.
They will do everything they have to, you know, whether they’ll cross the line and get involved in a belligerent conflict, that I don’t know. But they will do everything possible to thwart Washington’s plans for regime change against Syria, against Iran.
I just hope they will stick to that and not bend the slightest bit.
Well, let’s look at that, Mr. Lendman. How significant overall, because as you’ve just said, especially the Russians flexing their muscles with the United States, have we entered a new phase, internationally? Of course we saw, at the beginning, initially, of the Russian Federation where, basically, they seem to be falling in line with Washington’s policies, but now they seem to be coming of their own now. Have we entered a new phase that the United States will basically no longer just be able to do whatever they want to politically in the international forum?
Lendman: I think that’s another key point, Marziyeh. I absolutely believe that whether no major changes happen slowly over time. America has been losing power and influence for years.
I believe, possibly, the main reason for 9/11 - and I agree with those who say it had nothing to do with the people who were blamed for it - I believe the powers in my country mainly were responsible. But I think the main reason for that was for America to ratchet up the belligerence, try to regain some of the power that was waning.
It’s backfired on them. The more belligerent they get the fewer friends they have, the more friends they lose. Literally this is happening.
America is alienating one country after another. You know, they hang on but the support is not quite as great. Latin America is an excellent example. In the 1990s, America had its say in Latin America.